Thursday, May 23, 2019

The UK has no friends left

Back in February, the International Court of Justice ruled that UK had violated international law in its ethnic cleansing of the Chagos Islands, and ordered that they be handed back to Mauritius. Today the UN General Assembly voted on a followup motion to that ruling, to condemn the UK's illegal occupation of the Chagos - and the UK found itself without any friends:

The United Nations general assembly has overwhelmingly backed a motion condemning Britain’s occupation of the remote Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean.

The 116-6 vote left the UK diplomatically isolated and was also a measure of severely diminished US clout on the world stage. Washington had campaigned vigorously at the UN and directly in talks with national capitals around the world in defence of the UK’s continued control of the archipelago, where there is a US military base at Diego Garcia.

The vote was in support of a motion setting a six-month deadline for Britain to withdraw from the Chagos island chain and for the islands to be reunified with neighbouring Mauritius. It endorsed an advisory opinion issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in February, calling on the UK to relinquish its hold on the territory in order to complete the process of decolonisation.

The US, Hungary, Israel, Australia and the Maldives backed the UK in the vote and 56 countries abstained, including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Poland and Romania. Other European allies including Austria, Greece, Ireland, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland voted for the UK to relinquish sovereignty.

The UK was desperate to avoid having single-figure support, but in the end all it could muster was a collection of militarists, racists, and outright fascists. Which is what happens if you behave like a rogue state.

As for New Zealand, sadly we abstained rather than vote to uphold international law. So much for our commitment to decolonisation and a law-governed international environment.